Greetings heart filled readers!
Its 2016 Pride Sunday! I sit in the packed patio of a Castro bar. The crowd is rollicking!
Totally dominating the space is mostly thirty-something’s & under. A smattering of “we”—gracefully just above that demarcation age line—scatter about.
The bar’s décor is bland; you’d hardly know it was Pride weekend at all—a screaming contrast from the brilliant, fantastical “mind blowing” creations (transforming every station’s total atmosphere) that made gay San Francisco famous in heyday times.
Across the street Hibernia Beach’s sidewalk display for Orlando’s victims grows. But in here I don’t see any visible “memorials,” or reminders anywhere that Pulse’s extremely recent tragedy is a prevalent recognition for local hearts & minds.
Frolic is super high priority, but often gets reckless; self-absorbed folk crash along with frivolous disregard, splashing others with drinks & stepping on toes—not bothering to even look behind.
Under ordinary circumstances (for willing participants) this festive obliviousness offers a needed chance to forget about the often dangerous stress-filled demands constantly pressing us. After all, Pride Week (& “gay zones” in general) strives to foster a haven experience—freeing your mind to ward off the greater hostile “outside.”
But these are not “ordinary circumstances” by any means. At every step & turn Florida’s still shockingly close tragedy intrudes on every enclave with its very fresh reminder.
A sixty-something with his thirty-something are typically touristy, intoxicated by atmosphere (& potent “bar spirits”). They hunker in next to a Black twenty-something also in charmed visiting mode.
The Giants’ walk-off win makes the crowd roar, but the Black lad’s tart response sends the moment in an interesting spin:
“Sports in a gay bar!” he barks distastefully. “Can you believe it? I hate sports! How could it be in here?”
“I don’t know!” the white youth replies. “I also hate sports! I don’t get it!”
The educator in me couldn’t resist. I lean in and ask:
“Did you know in 1993 our Giants were the very first major pro sports team “ever” to dedicate an entire game day annually for battling AIDS? It gave huge proceeds to local care agencies & proud recognition to our horribly stigmatized, beleaguered community.
“It’s called ‘Until There’s A Cure Day,’ obviously still needed!”…my poignant tag.
“I could care less!” he snorts.
My public discourse canon blasts over his bow:
“I’ll bet countless gay male recipients of those resources cared!” I roared. “People thrown away by society got food, medicine & shelter, & another day of life—if but for only another day—& may not have cared about “sports”—but they were grateful that someone, anyone, actually cared about them!
“Obviously with regard to gay male legacy your stuck-up, superficial self couldn’t give a damn! So if you get ‘bashed down’ out there by ‘haters,’ let’s see how you feel about gay people stepping over your trifling ass, headed to the next dance—never looking back!”…my second blast roared!
The white senior citizen in this pair sat blank-eyed in embarrassment. His snotty pal dared mumble a repeat of “I could care less” (this time barely audible) but never drew the old man’s chastising. Obviously he dared not risk losing tonight’s impudent young “piece”; and this in total contrast to that Black youth, still attempting to give a “clue.”
Not bothering to blister him for this added indignation I left them in a potent state of absorption, washing my hands of such detachment filth. Shifting to a richer celebration corner (knowing untold thousands of fallen gays as “angels” cheer me from above) I give the “clueless” no further response—for now.
Clearly the unspeakable assault on Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub sent San Francisco, the U.S. & the world reeling. Nightmares stormed back everywhere, haunting those who’d experienced similar public tragedy.
The idea that “ordinary times” (terrible as those actually were for many) have worsened through the roof is a dreaded ribbon—it now threads intrusively through every locale’s Pride event.
It’s why police presence quadrupled at the Festival & in the Castro. It also makes the “festivity snapshot” I describe above (it’s tone boosting that gay male couple’s flippantness) not just disgusting, or disturbing—it’s dangerous on so many levels.
If “Dude Snotty” & company sets the current climate swirling amid this gay, public wake-up call (now the worse mass shooting in U.S. history—which targeted gays) we’re in for a bumpy, disastrous ride—from within!
This is major, especially as we learn more about the “killer.”
Investigating authorities particularly pair with patrons who’ve recognized him over the years. All apparently is not what it seems.
Hawkish U.S. political reactionaries decided they knew though! Declaring absolutely!
Like clockwork pundits rushed to lump Pulse’s incident with their version of “radicalized” terrorism; a definition narrowly described of course to exclude all other possibility sources—except “Islam.” Attacking Obama they claimed nothing could be solved unless it was strictly identified as that (superseding the earliest investigation).
But patrons observing & “interacting” over years in that bar with the killer bring far more complex developments to the table. Key items interestingly are not unfamiliar; haunting echoes of what I’ve described above, here in our scene, reflect much of Pulse’s climate—this according to key surfacing witnesses (as you’ll see below). It heightens the concern about gay sanctuary “safety breakdown”—from within.
Of course many say the killer seemed right at home, even flirting & maybe out for a pick-up. No U.S. media account I’ve seen though, comes close to what Spanish Media Univision has reported (calling into question just how thorough U.S. media actually investigates).
Univision says it’s interviewed an actual “ex lover” of the killer.
“Miguel” (a fake name with a distorted photo for protection) says they dated the last 2 months of 2015. Everyone should listen to the interview, or as I did, read the entire transcript here.
Sonny Hostins a former prosecutor got my attention about this on TV’s The View (she’s also a regular CNN pundit). Hostins who has a “Rican” background listened to the interview in both Spanish & English; she believes “Miguel” is very credible—apparently he’s also been interviewed by the FBI, 3 times extensively, which Hostins feels adds credence.
“Miguel” also believes something else: that it was absolutely not a radicalized terrorist act, but a combination of revenge for being violated by some Puerto Ricans (during their 3-way tryst) & homophobic mental abuse from his father (which sent him over the edge). He does believe Puerto Ricans were specifically targeted.
A spiritual notion says that something for humanity must be salvaged from Pulse Night Club’s tragedy, at least for improved safety. And here’s a start.
Untold numbers of LGBTQ people have been murdered, or have disappeared over centuries—never getting the slightest “attention” now afforded Orlando.
My next blog shows what’s chilling: the same thing creating those “Dude Snotties” at one end is absolutely the same that creates Orlando’s killer (& the Jeffrey Dahmers’) on the other.
You don’t want to miss it!
To be continued…